My Facebook page is rife with pictures of crocuses and daffodils springing from the damp soil. Temperate weather is ahead, my friends want to assure me I see their selfies as they stand in waiting lines at airports or pat a camel somewhere on the African continent. Winter is loosening its grip in our corner of the world. All good, right?
No, not right, according to accountants. Everywhere, from Washington to Disneyland, the guys who wear green eyeshades are bracing for financial shortfalls. America may be first in Trumpish bravado but not with tourists. His anti-foreigner tweets have encouraged them to book vacations elsewhere. Says Jonathan Grella, director of public affairs at the US Travel Association, “Reputational fallout is a real thing in the travel industry.” (Where Are All the Tourists?” by Henry Goldman and David Biller, Bloomberg Businessweek, March 13-19, 2017, pgs. 15-16.)
Since the last survey in 2017 by US News and World Report, BAV Consulting and the Wharton School, our nation has slipped from third to seventh place as one of the best places to travel. Reason given by poll participants is their loss of respect for American leadership and a fear they would be treated badly as a foreign visitor. (Ibid pg. 16.)
Forecasts for America’s tourism industry have dropped by 4.3 million this year. That translates into a loss of “62,000 jobs and $4.billion in revenue.” (Ibid pg. 15.) Los Angeles, the country’s second largest city and home to Disneyland, is projected to lose 800,000 visitors and $736 million in revenues over the next three years. (Ibid, pg. 16.) New York City will fare worse.
One bright spot gleams on the horizon. Talk of a thaw between Putin and Donald Trump has resulted in a 66% growth in Muscovites who show an interest in seeing the Statue of Liberty. (Ibid pg. 16.) And, if Trump continues his charm offensive, North Korean might send us a missile or two.